UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – On a rainy summer day inside Henderson Building on the University Park campus of Penn State, two dozen teenagers are busy preparing breakfast in the food lab: omelets, bacon and smoothies.
The students have varying levels of visual impairments, including blindness.
Some of these students aspire to be future chefs and foodies. Some are new to the experience of food preparation altogether. But the one thing they share is a love of learning and a desire to become successful, independent adults.
Chef Kristi Branstetter, food lab instructor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Penn State, is teaching a cooking class as part of the Summer Academy for Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired. The program, in its second year, is offered in collaboration with Penn State’s College of Health and Human Development and College of Education, the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network, and the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation’s Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services.